Olawale Olaleye’s Yellow Journalism, By Alfred Omolewa
This article is in response to Mr. Olawale Olaleye’s intriguing and egregious contribution to political discourse in his article titled, “Tinubu, an Asset and Liability” and published in the ThisDay Newspapers of April 24, 2015. The title of this response is informed by the comments of one of the readers of Mr. Olaleye’s article registered as sanetalk on the Disqus online discussion platform who aptly described the diatribe as “(A) self-defeating article full of concocted tales, hearsays and lacking in substance. Yellow Journalism.”
Yellow Journalism is that type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news or facts and instead uses eye-catching headlines and fabulously concocted contents to hold the attention of the less rigorous readers and sell more newspapers. The techniques of ‘Yellow Journalists’ usually include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.
After the publication of his April 24, 2015 article, Olawale Olaleye is, without doubt, now of the Yellow Journalism class. First, the article was written out of malice and he was so blinded and ostensibly angered by the malice that he said so himself. Understandably, many commentators were astounded that an otherwise respectable contributor to political discourse would serve his readers a malice-induced dubious dose of gibberish in the name of a considered contribution to rational discourse. It was a total waste of the time of every objective person who read it. As one of the commentators rightly noted, if a man refuses to speak to a particular news outlet, it is firmly within his right to do so!
Second, the article was intellectually fraudulent. When a social and political commentator makes far-reaching conclusions and judgement about an outstanding member of the political class based on a host of ‘allegedly, ‘supposedly’ ‘popular believed’ and the likes, fraud is the most deserving appellation for the effort.
Third, it was a complete disservice to the unrivalled record and sterling contributions of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the object of Mr. Olawale Olaleye’s ill will and ominous predictions. Indeed, it is no longer disputable, as the Tinubu staffer whose text message got under Mr. Olaleye’s skin earlier noted, that the evolution of the All Progressive Congress (APC) into the governing party and the emergence of its candidate, Gen. Muhammad Buhari as the President-elect prove a fundamental truth. A single visionary blessed with courage equal to his vision is ultimately more powerful than a vast multitude that is devoid of sight, courage and sound counsel.
Again, as he noted soon after the landslide electoral victory of the APC, it is a truism that at moments when others threatened to quit or did quit, Tinubu stuck doggedly to the course. When the Alliance for Democracy (AD) ran into stormy weather and was hijacked by the reactionary elements funded by the government in power, Tinubu established another progressive party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). As much as the ilk of Mr. Olaleye may want to discount the Asiwaju’s sterling contributions or diminish his earned towering stature, Asiwaju Bola AhmedTinubu is rightly now regarded, and will be seen by unbiased history, as brave at heart and large in vision. He has displayed the fortitude to stand when times get tough and when doubt becomes as thick as fog. He forged ahead when others succumbed to fear. Here is a man who stands alone when others are tired and sit down. Here’s a rare man who chooses to take risks and stake everything he has for a just cause. Indeed, he is a leader who stands alone to make unbelievable sacrifices in order to achieve a greater goal.
Thus, for Mr. Olaleye to consider such a man a liability on the basis of political tales supposedly told him by political fantasists and black market information peddlers is a shame. Indeed, the only source cited with approval by Mr. Olaleye in his malicious and intellectually fraudulent article was Gani Adams, the self-styled leader of the O’dua Peoples Congress. That fact speaks for itself and, indeed, speaks volumes.
It is gratifying to note that most of Mr. Olaleye’s readers have, in discussing the article on the ThisDay website, asked him to ‘try his hand in political fiction writing’ since most of the points raised are ‘mere conjectures, rumours, speculations and outright lies.’ Another discussant rightly dismissed the entire piece as consisting of a ‘thought-provoking introduction, blaspheming body and a non-professional closing remark’ amounting to ‘total gibberish’.
It is only reasonable to agree with these sentiments.
As the journalist whose text message got Mr. Olaleye to transfer aggression to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu earlier wrote in his widely published article, ‘Tinubu: The Quintessential Political Strategist’, it is high time people of Mr. Olaleye’s persuasion stopped a losing battle and realized that for “standing against the tide of greater power and might all these years, Tinubu has achieved something for all us. He is truly an architect of modern Nigeria, a driving force behind a new Nigeria and one of the fathers of a truly democratic two-party system.”